If you teach in the same school district as me, there are exactly 8 1/2 instructional days left before summer kicks in…
Translation?! If you’re a first-time AICE: GP teacher, you have exactly 8 1/2 instructional days to build an arsenal of essays to stockpile for next year’s use!
One of the best things I could have done at the start of my GP career was to request that my students type up and submit a final version of their essays. That way, I had a file of reference for the future. If a prompt came up in FY11 regarding industrial development and I needed ideas to fuel a discussion in FY13, well, I let my former students’ essays do the work (rightfully so, because I was busy making alllll of the materials for everything else, ok?!)!
I checked my essay file on “industrial development” and boom…I had a stockpile of cool ideas written on student-friendly level that I could pull for reference!
During the year, I file student essays by STUDENT. That way we can track individual progress together. Once the year is through, I re-file essays by SUBJECT, so I can pull, based on topic, for future reference.
If you have not started an electronic portfolio routine with your kids this year (which I wouldn’t expect you to because GP is overwhelming enough the first time around!!), I would suggest you utilize these last few days to get one semi-started. You could do this in any number of ways:
- Ask students to pick their favorite 3 essays from the school year and type them up for regular credit
- Ask students to type up ALL of their school year essays for submission and give them extra credit
- Reserve 2-3 computer lab days to let students type up what they can
Henceforward, always ask students to do a typed revision of graded essay directly following. Have them send it to you electronically and store it in your computer files for reference. Give them credit for completion and also for improvement. (I grade revisions summatively, by the way, where they just get a Band score based on the official GP Rubric.)
For revisions, I might focus on one aspect of the essay for specific improvement…like,
‘…in addition to revising the essay based on my feedback, I am also giving you an additional grade on applying the recent concepts we learned regarding: improving introduction, beefing up body, closure in the conclusion, strengthening sentence structure, use of appositives, creative craft…’
etc, etc, etc,…! Or whatever other lesson you have going at the moment 🙂
Gentle Note: if you ever use a student’s essay for teaching purposes in the future, keep it anonymous and keep it positive! Aim to use students samples for good-practice modeling 🙂
Cambridge International will be hosting workshops again this summer for AICE Professional Development. Yes, there is a GP workshop, and YES, I will be hosting it once again! I’m SO excited! (See the Workshop tab for previous workshop materials and coverage).
This year, the workshop will be held in Orlando, Florida, on June 10-11. The “Best Practices” General Paper workshop will be on Monday, June 10th so I really hope you can make it! I have a whole new spread of materials, activities and ideas to share, and I can’t wait to network with my old GP pals plus make some new friends along the way!
Feel free to visit the Cambridge Professional Development Workshop link for more information on exact location, fees, accommodations, etc.
Again, I hope to see you there!